Star Wolves 3: Civil War Review

Written by Mark Mackay

March 6, 2010 // 8:46 a.m.

Tags: #homeworld #rts #space #spaceships

Companies: #1c-publishing #steam

Star Wolves 3: Civil War

Publisher: 1C Publishing
Platform: PC Exclusive
UK Price (as reviewed): £24.99 (incl. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $34.99 (excl. Tax)

Yes, this is it; the review that everyone has been waiting for. Star Wolves 3: Civil War.

Sorry, what was that? You had absolutely no idea that there was even a Star Wolves 1 or 2? Well, now you have a chance to redeem yourself by getting interested in Star Wolves 3: Civil War.

We'll be honest, we'd not heard of the Star Wolves games either, not until the whole trilogy appeared on Steam and, given that it featured pictures of big spaceships shooting each other, we thought we'd take a look. After all, it's been a while since Homeworld 2, and if a game has been trilogised, there has to be something to it, right?

Star Wolves 3: Civil War Review Star Wolves 3: Civil War
Graphically, the game really isn't bad looking

Star Wolves 3 is essentially a hybrid RTS/RPG. There are four character classes to choose from, each with a suitably deep skill tree that unlocks many perks for that give class. As you make your way through space, you can pick up wings of mercenary pilots to fight by your side and squash the efforts of evil pirates who want to gun you down. You roam the vast expanses of space via portals and visit space stations and other celestial gubbins in a bid to work hard and better your lot in life. The story is dynamic and there are, apparently, several endings to the game. It all sounds very promising.

Without giving too much away in the opening of the review though, our first few hours of playing were just about the worst couple of hours spent gaming in our entire lives.

This is how the game starts; you fire Star Wolves 3: Civil War up, make a profile, turn all the detail settings to max at 1,920 x 1,200 and get stuck into the tutorial mission. The camera system is similar to that used in EVE Online, giving you a full-roaming 3D view of your ship and other objects in space. When it comes to navigation, you don’t take manual control of your ship, instead selecting your vessel and then moving to specific objects with a right click.

Star Wolves 3: Civil War Review Star Wolves 3: Civil War
Getting anywhere in the game requires triumphing over the UI

However, while EVE’s navigation system facilitates some of the most skill-intensive and brutal PvP in any sci-fi game, the control system in Star Wolves 3: Civil War is a travesty. When you select your ship, you can point anywhere in space to have it thrust in that direction. The problem is though, that there‘s no indication of depth anywhere in the UI. Let's say, for example, that there's an object 100 meters directly in front of your nose and you want to travel to its vicinity. You right click near it - but your ship could end up 50 meters shy of the target beyond the target or even some point further away from the target than where you originally started.

Right clicking on the target directly usually plots a course directly to it, but we found that this didn’t always work due to flaky implementation. Also, if you’ve just landed next to a station and want to dock then you’ll have to right click in its direction. It’s basically a nightmare trying to control your ship.

In fact, it's a nightmare trying to get you ship to do anything. A command panel at the bottom of the screen lets you choose attack commands and apply them to a target - but it too doesn't always respond properly. Even when it does then the attack animations are very weak, leaving you feeling that it probably wasn't even worth the effort anyway. Never have pew-pew lasers been so unreliable and so unsatisfying.
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